Langford is hosting Victoria’s first Goddess Run, a women-only road race in June that includes a half-marathon (21.1 kilometre), a 10 km and a five km route.
Up to 1,500 goddesses will run or walk along the routes that wind through Langford and Colwood.
Organizers hope the Goddess Run will become an annual event aspiring to unite women and celebrate the power they can have when they work together.
“It’s a fun, celebratory name,” said co-race director Cathy Noel, who is also the general manager of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon and a former race director of the TC 10K. “And goddesses can be any age.”
Watching the growing popularity of women-only races across the continent and with the high concentration of female runners and walkers in the Greater Victoria area, organizers wanted to create an event here.
“More than 900 runners have signed up already,” said Louise Hodgson-Jones, a media representative for the event. “We can feel the popularity growing.”
Depending on the distance entered, goddesses will pay between $35 and $75, with $5 from every fee directed at the runner’s discretion to one of four charities: Sport Assist, a charity that aims to eliminate the financial barriers keeping children from participating in sports; Promotion Plus, an organization dedicated to increasing opportunities for girls and women in sport; the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, or the Victoria Women’s Transition House. As of the event’s official launch on April 4, $6,265 had been donated to the charities.
Two years ago, organizers of the Fort Rodd Hill half-marathon ran into difficulties when the Ministry of Transportation denied permission for that run to cross Sooke Road. That run’s route had to be re-directed, but Noel anticipates no such hiccups.
“We’ve got all the permits,” she said. “I’ve got them all in my hot little hands.”
En route, along with the standard water, aid and cheering stations, will be chocolate stops, where tired and hungry runners can carb up on an assortment of cocoa concoctions courtesy of Victoria’s Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut. Other attractions will include champagne toasts, bistro recovery food, massages and music.
All runners will start and finish at Goudy Field, in Langford’s City Centre Park, where music and other entertainment will take place on a temporary stage.
The half-marathon will start at 9:00 a.m., the 10 km race at 9:30 a.m., and the 5 km race at 9:45 a.m.
The half-marathon is open to women 15 years and older, and other events to those 10 years and older. Sterling silver necklaces will be awarded to every finisher. The event is also looking for “gods” — men — to volunteer.
“We’re so amazed at how it’s taken off,” Hodgson-Jones said. “It’s going to be some event.”
For race maps and more information on the Victoria Goddess Run go to www.victoriagoddess.com.